State data shows Black Kentuckians are underserved by vaccine rollout

Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,003 new COVID-19 cases Monday – the lowest number he had reported since December – but virus deaths remained high.

Beshear said there were 40 additional virus deaths, but some were previously confirmed and were newly announced Monday. The current coronavirus death toll in Kentucky is 4,051.

Warren County deaths included a 68-year-old woman, a 69-year-old man and an 85-year-old man. In Barren County, the governor reported the deaths of a 68-year-old woman, a 70-year-old woman, a 71-year-old woman, an 82-year-old woman, a 55-year-old man, another 82-year-old woman and a 73-year-old man.

Apart from the high number of virus deaths, Beshear said the state’s coronavirus trends are moving in the right direction.

“That only happens from your hard work,” Beshear said. “We have more people wearing masks. We have more people social distancing. We are having fewer large gatherings in homes or out in public. We must keep this up because we do not want to lose this progress.”

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19, the number of virus patients in intensive care units and those currently on ventilators are either down or holding steady, Beshear said. He also reported that the state’s test positivity rate fell to 7.78%, the lowest rate since Nov. 10.

When it comes to rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, Kentucky has received 490,975 initial doses and administered 444,930 of that amount, a utilization rate of 91%. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for full vaccination to be achieved.

Beshear said he will announce this week a list of independent pharmacies across the state that are going to receive vaccine shipments and help distribute them to rural communities.

Those looking for a vaccine should visit or call 855-598-2246. For the hearing impaired, the number is 855-326-4654.

Beshear also unveiled demographic data for vaccinations in Kentucky that demonstrates the state’s Black or African American population has been vastly underserved.

The vast majority of vaccine recipients in the state (336,318) are White. Only 16,579 Black or African American Kentuckians have gotten the vaccine.

That means Black Kentuckians represent about 4% of the vaccinations that have taken place in the state, despite making up 8% of the overall population.

Beshear called that fact “unacceptable” and outlined a three-pronged plan to work toward equity in distributing the vaccine. The governor said his plan will address the programmatic, societal and historical factors driving the racial disparities of the state’s vaccine rollout.

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